chapter  9
If a Lion Could Talk
Pages 15

This chapter explains much of the history and sociology which made possible the claims which are currently made on behalf of animal's moral status. The lion is only given meaning to the extent that the values which are projected on to it help say something about what it is to be human. Wittgenstein once remarked 'If a lion could talk, people could not understand him'. He was making the largely philosophical point that the world of the lion and the world of the social are totally unconnected and, therefore, communication between them is impossible. The struggles over the status and meaning of 'Man' the city dweller have helped guarantee that the lion can never be known in itself. The lion has been given the right to hold a conversation only because people know that talking is a uniquely human and social activity. By the middle of the 1970s, animal rights had been firmly fetishised.